What are they waiting for?

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A judge has the right to order an Army psychiatrist charged in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage to be forcibly shaved before his murder trial, military attorneys told an appeals court Wednesday.

The attorneys, in a document filed on behalf of Col. Gregory Gross, contend that forcibly shaving Maj. Nidal Hasan would not violate the American-born Muslim’s religious freedoms and said it is similar to ‘‘and no more invasive than’’ a judge’s right to restrain a defendant who is disruptive during a court-martial.

‘‘Forced shaving is not a novel concept in the military,’’ military attorneys said in the judge’s response filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. ‘‘Army regulations expressly authorize nonconsensual haircutting and face-shaving for recalcitrant incarcerated soldiers. … If the judge has authority to bind and gag a disruptive accused (soldier), then certainly he has authority to forcibly shave (Hasan).’’

Last week that appeals court delayed Hasan’s court-martial, which had been set to start earlier this week with jury selection, while it considers his appeal to being forcibly shaved. Now that the judge has responded, the court can make a decision or choose to hear oral arguments in the case first.

Hasan has grown a beard to express his Muslim faith. His defense attorneys have said he won’t shave since he’s had a premonition that his death is imminent, and he doesn’t want to die without a beard because he believes not having one is a sin.